Lagrangian Reaction-Diffusion Model for Predicting the Ignitability of Pressurized Hydrogen Releases


Previous experiments demonstrated that the accidental release of high pressure hydrogen into air can lead to the possibility of spontaneous ignition. It is believed that this ignition is due to the heating of the mixing layer, between hydrogen and air, that is caused by the shock wave driven by the pressurized hydrogen during the release. Currently, this problem is poorly understood and not amenable to direct numerical simulation. This is due to the presence of a wide range of scales between the sizes of the blast wave driven and the very thin mixing layer. The present study addresses this fundamental ignition problem and develops a solution framework in order to predict the ignition event for given hydrogen storage pressures and dimension of the release hole. In this problem, only the mixing layer between the hydrogen and air is considered. This permits us to use much higher resolution than previous studies. This mixing layer, at the jet head, is advected as a Lagrangian fluid particle. The key physical processes in the problem are identified to be the mixing of the two gases at the mixing layer, the initial heating by the shock wave, and a cooling effect due to the expansion of the mixing layer. The results of the simulations indicate that for every storage pressure, there exists a critical hole size below which ignition is prevented during the release process. Close inspection of the results indicate that this limit is due to the competition between the heating provided by the shock wave and the cooling due to expansion. Furthermore, the results also indicate that the details of the mixing process do not play a significant role to leading order. The limiting ignition criteria were found to be well approximated by the Homogeneous Ignition Model of Cuenot and Poinsot, supplemented by a heat loss term due to expansion. Therefore, turbulent mixing occurring in reality is not likely to affect the ignition limits derived in the present study. Comparison with existing experiments showed very good agreement.

Related subjects: Safety
Countries: Canada

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